Bhopal gas tragedy: SC to hear curative petitions on Feb 28

New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) The Supreme Court todaydecided to hear in open court two curative petitions filed bythe CBI and the Centre in connection with the 1984 Bhopal gastragedy seeking restoration of the stringent charge ofculpable homicide against the accused and enhancement ofcompensation for the victims.

The petition in which the Centre has soughtenhancement of compensation from Rs 750 crore to Rs 7,700crore for victims was listed for hearing today but the apexcourt decided to take both the matters together on February 28after perusing the documents relating to the case.

A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadiatook the decision during chamber proceedings on the twocurative petitions, separetely filed by the CBI and theCentre.

"Place these petitions in the court," the bench alsocomprising Justices Altamas Kabir, R V Raveendran, B SudershanReddy and Aftab Alam, said. Curative petitions are generallyheard in chambers of judges by circulation.

The apex court bench had on August 31 last decided toto re-examine its own judgement that led to lighter punishmentof two years imprisonment for the accused including formerUnion Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra.

The court had sought response from the seven accusedon the CBI plea seeking restoration of the stringent charge ofculpable homicide, which attracts a maximum punishment of 10years'' jail term, against them for the world''s worstindustrial disaster that left over 15,000 people dead andthousands maimed.

Besides Mahindra, Vijay Gokhale, the then ManagingDirector of UCIL, Kishore Kamdar, then Vice President, J NMukund, then Works Manager, S P Choudhary, then ProductionManager, K V Shetty, then Plant Superintendent and S IQuereshi, then Production Assistant were convicted andsentenced to two years'' jail term by a trial court inBhopal on June 7 this year.

Government had on December 3, the anniversary of thetragedy, moved the apex court seeking enhancment ofcompensation from Rs 750 crore to Rs 7,700 crore for thevictims.

However, it had not issued notices on the plea ofMinistry of Chemicals and Fertilizers seeking payment ofadditional damages from Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), DowChemicals Company (which owns UCC since 2001), Mcleod RusselIndia having 50.9 per cent share-holding of UCIL, and UCIL,which is currently known as Eveready Industries Ltd. MORE PTIRKS AAC

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